Jamie Reid’s OVA project continues with Spring Equinox celebration raising awareness of the celestial calendar and our place in the ecological matrix.
20th March 2023
The Lost Gardens of Heligan, St Austell, Cornwall
Internationally acclaimed artist Jamie Reid’s project OVA is a year-long cycle through the seasons and festivals based in the Druidic 8-fold year. Embracing the cardinal points of the year – summer and winter solstice and the spring and autumn equinoxes – the focal point of the project is a 100m symbol in a Cornish meadow, oriented to true North.
Working with the team at the world-famous Lost Gardens of Heligan near St Austell in Cornwall, Jamie Reid has brought something unexpected and beautiful, broad in conception and extremely forward thinking into the landscape. The symbol itself can be read as a conflation of the classic A for Anarchy symbol (referring inevitably to Reid’s connection to the Sex Pistols) with a V for Victory and an O for Compassion. Reid also has longstanding associations with anti-Capitalist movements and this extraordinary land work exhorts us to reclaim our own connections to nature and to the soil.
Reid has a lifelong connection with Universalism, a belief in essential cross-cultural and and pan-theological truth, often referring in his work to the phrase ‘Universal Majesty Verity Love Infinite’. There is also a long-standing family connection to the Druid Order, and this project embraces those elements and celebrates the eight key markers of the year, which revolve around the Solstices and Equinoxes.
Events include celebrations with poetry (including Mercury Prize nominee Gwenno), song and creative workshops with local children and visitors to the garden which take place on the key dates, including the Winter Solstice marked with a circle of flaming torches, Imbolc (Feb 1st – which saw snow drops planted around the OVA), Beltane (May 1st seed sowing with local children), Lammas (Aug 1st) and Samhuinn (Oct 31st – Nov 2nd).
It is a heartfelt artistic intention for these dates, their meanings and celebrations become a part of the national teaching syllabus.
As the seasons have progressed, the OVA symbol has appeared in the meadow, which in itself has provided an intensely beautiful and rich pollen source for a tremendous amount of insect life. Visitors are encouraged to open their senses to the sights, smells and sounds of corn marigold, corn chamomile, cornflower, bees and clouds of finches.
The forthcoming and final event of the cycle will be the Spring Equinox celebrations on 20th March, in collaboration with musician, producer and author Richard Norris and Stone Club’s Matthew Shaw in association with Jamie Reid and under the name Pillars of Wonder. This will include a thirty-minute performance with costume, ritual and invocations.
Further events by Reid, Norris and Shaw as Pillars of Wonder will take place in 2023 including the Glastonbury Festival.
The OVA symbol is readily accessible for visitors to the Lost Gardens of Heligan and enables free entry for participants in the eight ritual events throughout the year.
Partners on the project include the National Wildflower Centre and the Sensory Trust. Reid has extended invites to local schools and refugee projects and hopes to extend education on ecological importance further.
The OVA project is currently being documented ahead of a book publication is 2024 with Watkins Books, in collaboration with internationally celebrated writer Stephen Ellcock.
Jamie Reid is renowned for his work with the Sex Pistols in the 1970s and has worked for fifty years in direct action campaigns, with the band Afro Celt Sound System and with community-based art projects. He exhibits internationally and is represented by the John Marchant Gallery.